Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
Indianapolis, IN - Today, Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita praised the teamwork that led to the arrest of Frankfort resident Phillip Butler and the filing of additional criminal charges by Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney Sonya Leerkamp. The most recent charges against Butler are for two counts of fraudulent or deceitful acts while acting as a loan broker, and one count of theft; all three counts are Class D felonies. Rokita also took the opportunity to announce a new online resource for prosecutors fighting white collar crime.
Butler is accused of illegally charging up-front fees to procure a loan and diverting part of a loan deposit for personal use. The charges were filed on a referral from Rokita's Prosecution Assistance Unit (PAU).
Butler is currently awaiting trial in Hamilton County for three securities charges, including fraud in the sale of a security, and was previously arrested in 2005 in a sting initiated by Rokita's office and carried out with the assistance of the Indiana State Police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department for illegally offering and selling an unregistered security to an undercover Indiana State Police Detective and a Secretary of State's Office Securities Investigator
"This is the kind of repeat criminal activity that we will not let Mr. Butler or others get away with," Rokita said. "Hoosier investors and taxpayers deserve protection from ruthless scam artists like Mr. Butler. Clearly, this man didn't get the message the first several times he was arrested as he continues to break the law. The commitment and cooperation of all agencies involved sends the message that Indiana will not stand by and let its citizens be victimized. The good work of our Prosecution Assistance Unit should put this man behind bars."
Butler is currently on probation in Clinton County after pleading guilty in July 2005 to four counts of fraud during the offer or sale of a security. He was barred from the securities industry in 1989 and plead guilty in 1990 to forgery and two counts of theft in Hamilton County. There, he was sentenced to five years of prison to be served concurrently to a 1991 Clinton County four-year prison sentence for pleading guilty to four counts of selling unregistered securities.
The PAU was created by Rokita and his Securities division in 2004 to further existing investigations and facilitate local law enforcement's prosecution of alleged Securities Act violations. The focus of the office is to assist county prosecutors in an effort to work together at the courthouse and statehouse to root out the worst of the worst of white collar crime. By working with law enforcement throughout the state, the PAU's investigations have led to the filing of charges in 22 high-profile investment fraud cases in Indiana, and has a 15 to 1 conviction-to-dismissal record, with over 150 years of jail time sentenced to-date.
With today's arrest, Rokita also announced a new website for the PAU, which can be found in the INvest section of the Secretary of State website (www.sos.IN.gov). There, interested Hoosiers and law enforcement personnel alike can find information and resources about the PAU and fighting white-collar crime. The website contains information about previous cases in which the PAU was involved, information about various securities act violations, a place for Hoosiers to file complaints about possible violations, and also access the website of their local prosecutor. It also has information on different training session opportunities to educate and inform police officers, prosecutors, and other law enforcement personnel about pursuing white collar crime as well as a password protected area containing resources for Indiana prosecutors.